Electron microscopic study of association between coccoid forms of Helicobacter pylori and gastric epithelial cells

Am J Gastroenterol. 1995 Oct;90(10):1829-33.


Objective: To investigate the relationship between helical and coccoid forms of Helicobacter pylori and gastric epithelial cells.

Methods: Gastric antral and body biopsies were obtained from eight children, aged 10-17 yr, who underwent diagnostic gastroscopy. Specimens were processed for electron microscopy. The location of organisms and ultrastructural features were assessed with a transmission electron microscope.

Results: We observed two morphological forms of bacteria in three of eight H. pylori-positive patients. Helical forms were localized only in the proximity to unchanged or variously damaged mucous cells, but coccoid forms were present only above strongly damaged epithelial cells.

Conclusion: Coccoid forms of H. pylori are closely associated with damaged gastric mucous cells. Possible explanations for this phenomenon are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Epithelium / microbiology
  • Epithelium / ultrastructure
  • Gastric Mucosa / microbiology*
  • Gastric Mucosa / ultrastructure
  • Helicobacter Infections / microbiology*
  • Helicobacter Infections / pathology
  • Helicobacter pylori / ultrastructure*
  • Humans